A Few Thoughts on the Issues I Choose

Trying to assemble an issues/addresses list as I do presents some challenges. So much is happening so quickly in this country that I can easily find twenty or thirty new topics in a single day—far more than I can write up. Below are five of the guidelines I use when choosing what to write up.

• If pretty much no one is talking about an issue and it matters, that bumps the issue to the top of my list. The daily/weekly/monthly resistance updates have a fair bit of overlap, so I try to keep an eye out for issues that aren’t yet in wide circulation.

• I avoid the egregiously stupid or offensive behaviors we’re seeing so much of these days. This kind of behavior matters, but too often it becomes a distraction from the legislative agenda. It’s almost as if some people choose to say unpleasant things because, as long as you’re focused on what they’re saying, you’re less able to focus on what they’re doing.

• I include thank-you card possibilities. Yes, we need to keep challenging the current administration, but taking a moment to focus on a person or group that’s done something decent can uplift us so we can keep challenging the unpleasantness.

• I have my own preferences. As a lesbian, I was devastated by the Bowers v. Hardwick ruling in 1986, but the wheels of justice kept grinding, and in 2003, that ruling was overturned. Then there’s Obergefell v. Hodges, which allowed my wife and I to get married. When we became engaged, we absolutely meant it, but we also thought of our engagement as a symbolic act. We didn’t expect same-sex marriage to become a reality in our lifetimes, but we were determined that we were holding out for the “real” thing, not just a commitment ceremony or domestic partnership. The courts matter—and court rulings are not subject to the whims of the next administration the way legislation is. Also—federal judges get lifetime appointments. Once they’re in office, we’re stuck with them. At least we have the hope of a different president once we make it through four years of Trump. (And I know “make it through four years of Trump” is a simplification, but that’s a sermon for another time.)

• I love me some First Amendment. I want to get the First Amendment tattooed on my right forearm, so every time I reach out to shake hands with someone, that’s what they see. Freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom of religion, the right to petition our government when we have grievances—we haven’t perfected those, but we have them in the Constitution, and we can keep working to live up to their promise.

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